Confession: I just can’t seem to quit paper towels. Between my spill-prone kids and a regurgitation-prone dog, I’m not sure if I ever will. I do know, though, that I can do a better job encouraging the use of linens when it comes to hand-drying. I’ve caught the boys reaching for the paper towels because, they complain, the hand towel had just been used and was still soggy. “Why can’t we get a hand dryer that blows hot air out,” they ask. Really?
This is why I’m considering installing a wooden rail for roller towels. What is a roller towel? (I hadn’t heard of it either.) It’s a towel that’s attached at the ends to form a loop. Hung from a roller towel rail in a kitchen or bath, it solves the age-old-dilemma of having to dry your hands on a towel that your little brother has already used. After you wash your hands, simply pull the towel down for a dry section; the wet part cycles to the back.
Recently, I’ve spotted some great-looking roller towels and Shaker-like wooden rails in some of our favorite stores, like Labour & Wait, March, and Objects of Use. It’s no accident that two of the three are based in England. Roller towels are a distinctly Old World thing—one that we wouldn’t mind importing to the New World. Here are some lovely examples:
Above: Willow & Lake sells the Solid Oak Roller Towel Holder with your choice of continuous towel—either in cream or red; £46.50. Grace & Glory Home carries the same wooden rail and cotton-linen roller towels but sells them separately; their Roller Towels are £15 each and come in an additional blue colorway.Above: From Labour & Wait, the Roller Towel Holder is made of solid oak and comes with brass fittings; £32. The Roller Towels are £15 each.Above: Sheila Maid, maker of one of the best laundry room accessories ever (see Object Lessons: The Sheila Maid Clothes Airer), carries the oak Roller Towel Rail in two finishes: Deluxe Oak and Shaker Cream Style. Both are £32 each.Above: Linen Roller Towels from London-based Linen Works can be had for £29 each, shown in chalk (left) and pale gray.